Gourmet Heaven to hit Whitney Ave.

After a year and a half on Broadway, Gourmet Heaven is moving forward with plans to open a second New York-style deli on Whitney Avenue.

The new location, which is owned by University Properties, will feature some variations on the Broadway store. It will boast a sushi buffet during business lunch hours, and a wider selection of groceries to cater to the needs of families and other residents.

A New York-style deli with a wide selection of health-conscious and gourmet foods, Gourmet Heaven remains open 24 hours, although it is not clear whether the new location will keep the same schedule. The date of the opening is still up in the air, and depends on the negotiation of the rental contract.

“We are here as a resource to support the tenants in any way that we can, but the ultimate schedule for opening as well as the executing is entirely up to them,” said Andrea Pizziconi, a financial analyst with University Properties. “I will say that a grocery store is a very complex build-out.”

Gourmet Heaven first made its appearance in the Yale community when Krauszer’s, a 24-hour convenience store on York Street, lost its lease. University Properties recruiters, after searching during 1999 and 2000, brought Gourmet Heaven to New Haven 18 months ago.

Pizziconi is enthusiastic about the new Gourmet Heaven, which is expected to attract a much larger community of New Haven residents, as well as students.

But Gourmet Heaven owner Chung Cho said the locations will continue to cater to student needs.

“Since we are open 24 hours, throughout the year, students find it very convenient to walk over at any time,” Cho said. “Many students love shopping at Gourmet Heaven because of the large variety of healthy foods, which dining halls and local restaurants don’t really offer.”

The Whitney location will be close to the established residential community in the Orange Street area. But the new store will likely share local clientele with surrounding establishments such as Bruegger’s Bagels, Willoughby’s, The Whole Enchilada and Sandra’s.

But Emily Wheelwright ’06, a waitress at the Whole Enchilada, said the variety of foods sold on Whitney Avenue will likely allow the stores to coexist.

“I doubt it will threaten the niche of any existing store near the Whitney location,” Wheelright said. “My manager is aware of it opening, but does not think it will affect business in any way.”

Pizziconi added that Whitney Avenue is a vibrant business district with enough room to accommodate additional uses to strengthen the corridor as a destination.

“The residential district surrounding Whitney could certainly benefit from having an all-purpose grocery store — especially one that is open late,” Pizziconi said.

Pizziconi said Gourmet Heaven is looking to expand into the statewide market in the future. As of now, the Broadway store is its only Connecticut location, and the Whitney outlet will be the second.

But some students think Gourmet Heaven’s prices are too high for their taste.

“The only problem is that we have to pay for it,” Abigail Ellman ’06 said. She added that she prefers to call it “Gourmet Spendin’.”

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